Bruschetta originated in Italy in the 15th century and is an antipasto consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. In this country, the word is widely used to refer to the prepared topping so the correct name of this appetizer would be Bruschetta with Tomatoes. But I choose to simply say Bruschetta.
I always think of Bruschetta during the summer when garden tomatoes are at their peak and absolute best. It is delicious, people love it, and you can prepare it in advance. This recipe will yield about 15 servings and here is how I prepare it.
First the bread. Slice a French baguette into ½ inch thick slices, brush both sides with olive oil, place on a sheet pan and pop into a pre-heated 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Take them out, flip them over and put back into the oven for 3 -4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Into a glass bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of diced shallot and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes then whisk in 1/3 cup of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Set aside while you prepare the tomatoes.
Of course, the tomatoes are the star of the show and I like to use petite heirloom tomatoes because I think they are delicious in this dish and the varied colors make for a pretty presentation. Cut 1 pint of these jewels into ¼ inch pieces and add to the bowl with 2 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese and ¼ cup of chopped basil. This mixture can sit on the countertop for 30 – 45 minutes.
When you are ready to serve, put some of the mixture on each of the toast slices using a slotted spoon and arrange on a platter. Finally, drizzle balsamic glaze over the Bruschetta and serve.